Why Shoot the Teacher?

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Why Shoot the Teacher?
Why Shoot the Teacher.jpg
VHS box art
Directed bySilvio Narizzano
Produced byLawrence T. Hertzog
Written byJames DeFelice
StarringBud Cort
Samantha Eggar
Kenneth Griffith
Chris Wiggins
Music byRicky Hyslop
CinematographyMarc Champion
Edited byMax Benedict
Stan Cole
Distributed byFraser Films & Lancer Productions Limited
Quartet Films (United States)
Release date
  • 1977 (1977) (Canada)
  • 1980 (1980) (U.S.)
Running time
99 minutes
BudgetCAD 810000 (estimated)

Why Shoot the Teacher? is a 1977 Canadian comedy-drama film based on a book of the same name by Max Braithwaite.


The plot is set in 1935, during the Depression. Max Brown (Bud Cort) is an urban east-province Canadian fresh from college who travels to Western Canada to accept a teaching position at a one-room rural schoolhouse in the fictional settlement of Willowgreen, Saskatchewan, because there are no other jobs available.

He decides to live in the school's basement, having to adapt to teaching in the Depression-era rural setting, especially given the bleakness of the settlement. His students at first are rebellious, but it eventually changes to a connection between student and teacher as Max gets into a love for Alice Field (played by Samantha Eggar), going to him for emotional support.

Max barely gets paid and he suffers through the paltry winter of Willowgreen, especially suffering given his physical and emotional isolation in the town, only finding solace in Harris Montgomery (played by Gary Reineke) and Alice Field, who both try to use him to solve their problems of political socialism and her being a war bride of Britain.

Max eventually begins to understand Willowgreen and the rural struggles, as the inspector (Kenneth Griffith) comes in to look at his work, which does not end too well. The school year ends as Max is getting on a train back east, but before the credits roll, he tells us he returned the following September to teach another year at Willowgreen.


Production notes[edit]

The movie was filmed on location at Hanna, Alberta. The film was produced with the assistance of the Canadian Film Development Corporation.

Awards and recognition[edit]

James DeFelice won a 1978 Canadian Film Award for the film's adapted screenplay. The film itself won the Golden Reel Award for attaining higher box-office gross revenues of that year than any other Canadian film.

External links[edit]